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If you only want to make one more trip to the nursery this season, read on. If you want something different from the pansies and petunias all of your neighbors have, you will find great ideas here. If you have limited space, resources, or talent with plants, but you love flowers, this article is for you! Are your favorite plants the ones that can survive neglect? Most of the flowering plants you envy on your friend’s patio need daily attention not just to stay beautiful, but to live. Fortunately, there is a way to enjoy the fragrance, beauty, and tranquility of outdoor flowers without too much work.

Azaleas abound in your local hardware and discount department stores. They are so beautiful that you cannot resist, although they bear mysterious and complicated care instructions. If you think the azalea will bloom happily forever in your house in its original container, think again. The azalea prefers to live outdoors, so keep it potted on your front porch instead. Get the correct potting soil and a large enough pot before you take it home, and you won’t have to worry about the soil composition in your yard that could easily kill an azalea.

Gardenias are equally as beautiful and notorious as azaleas. They mock you with their impossibly fluffy petals as if to say, “you don’t really expect this look to come cheaply, do you?” Yet, keep a gardenia in a large enough pot with some daily sunlight, and it will bloom for you year after year with some occasional water.

Lantana are showy and extremely hardy flowering bushes. White and purple varieties are low growing, while the bright yellow and orange varieties are taller. All grow very rapidly and require very little water. These are normally landscape plants and thrive even in the summer heat of Central Texas. If you really want flowers that love neglect, look for landscape bushes native to difficult climates. Lantanta will flourish and bloom for months and then become a bare stick bush in the late fall. Do not fret! Just prune the sticks all they way down to the base and the flowers will come back next year.

Mexican heather, also called false heather, is another landscape bush that is beautiful enough to look at home in a decorative planter. It is much slower growing than lantana, and grows in a delightful wreath-like spiral pattern with purple flowers covering stems of tiny bright green leaves. The care of this plant is so easy that you can actually just water it when it starts to look thirsty (that means brown leaves, for you truly black thumbs!).

Overall, if you have trouble with flowers, stick more to flowering bushes instead of plants that yield a single flower or flowering stem to each root base. The bushes tend to need less attentive watering and they are more likely to be perennial (they will come back year after year, not die of natural causes after one season). The bushes may even do better for you than for your friends who water their plants religiously, because over watering can quickly kill these plants. Do be sure to use pots that have a drainage hole in them. Otherwise, your flowers could drown even if you hardly water them! Finally, when in doubt, place your plants in partial sun. All flowers need sun, but many will scorch, or at least need more water if they reside in extended direct sunlight.